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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2008 Sep;14(9):858-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02053.x.

Molecular epidemiology of hepatitis B virus in Iran.

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Department of Virology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major cause of liver disease worldwide. Eight genotypes and 24 subgenotypes of HBV have been identified. The aim of this study was to determine the distribution of HBV genotypes, subgenotypes and subtypes, and to understand HBV genetic variability in the HBV genome circulating in Iranian provinces. Two hundred and forty-nine sera from HBV-infected patients living in 25 provinces of Iran were collected (2004-2007). A part of the HBV S/pol and whole BCP/C genes were amplified, sequenced and then subjected to phylogenetic, recombination and genetic variability analysis. Results revealed genotype D of HBV in all samples and subgenotypes D1 (98.52%), D2 (0.74%) and D3 (0.74%) among Iranian patients living in different provinces of Iran. Subtypes ayw2 (94.4%), ayw1 (2.8%), ayw3 (2%) and ayw4 (0.4%) were deduced, on the basis of HBV small surface antigen (HBsAg) amino acid sequences. The mean percentage intra-genotypic distance of S plus core regions was 2.8%; the mean percentage inter-genotypic distance of this region between Iranian strains and genotype D isolates was 3.1%; and this rate for other genotypes was 5.2-11.4%. Various rates of point mutations have been found within different HBV genes, e.g. HBsAg (17.2%), precore-G1896A (59.5%) and Basal core promoter (BCP) double mutations (49.2%), whereas no recombination was found. In conclusion, these results indicate that the only genotype circulating in the provinces of Iran is genotype D. There exist high genetic variabilities in the S/pol and BCP/C regions among the Iranian HBV isolates.

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